January 4, 2016

Most Read Posts of 2015

Last year was an interesting year. After deciding I had written all there was for me to say about retirement, I shut down the blog in late April, only to restart things in early July, albeit with a somewhat different focus. Instead of writing exclusively about the various aspects of retirement, a change to Satisfying Journey allowed me to take a look at other topics and things that sparked my interest.

As 2015 came to a close I was interested to see which blog posts were the most read. Would they be ones I had written before the April shutdown, or after the relaunch in July? Or, maybe would there be no discernible difference in appeal. Which topics were most attractive?

Certainly the April stoppage did affect the number of folks who were still around in July. Daily readership fell by 40%. That was to be expected. And, since I write because I enjoy it and am building friendships through the comment/response process, the dip in visits didn't bother me. Even so, I wanted to know which part of the year had the greater appeal to folks.

The most read post of this past year was the April 27 post in which I announced the  end (temporarily, as it turned out) of Satisfying Retirement. It also generated comments that ultimately convinced me to sit back down at the keyboard. I missed writing, but I also missed the regular interaction with readers who made me think and helped me on my own retirement journey.

The post just before the one above, was actually the second most popular of the year. Is Retirement an Outmoded Concept raised questions about the viability of retirement in the future. The comments were generally in agreement: retirement is very much alive for our generation, but our kids or grandkids might live in a society where that is not true. We may be heading back to a time where those who are able will work as long as physically or mentally possible, not by choice but by necessity.

The fictional connection between George Harrison's life and mine was the third most-read post. I had just finished a fascinating biography of the former Beatle. He had enjoyed the fruits of being one of the most famous and richest people in the world, only to realize that his life was empty and unfulfilling. He became desperate to get away from being defined only as a Beatle. 

He discovered that "money can't buy you love" or contentment, but he couldn't tear himself away from that part of his past. He spent the last several years of his life searching for something that would make him happy and complete.

The remaining Top 10 posts of the year included:

4.   Is Financial Security a State of Mind?
5.   Another Eat Your Vegetables Article About Retirement
6.   Retirement and Your Social Network
7.   Life Is What Happens While You are Making Other Plans
8.  The Stigma of Being Poor
9.  The Gift That Keeps On Giving: Parental Financial Planning
10. Are We Really So Afraid?

What was obvious after completing this project was that several of the most-read posts dealt with typical retirement topics that had been the mainstay of the blog for the five years prior to my shift to a broader, somewhat more personal approach. 
 Even though I make it clear I am not a financial advisor, posts that deal with money and navigating the potentially troubled waters of retirement finance remain very popular. Two of the posts where I opened up the door on some "heavier" subjects (being poor and fearful) also racked up strong readership and comments.

Thinking about 2016, this look back helps me plot a course forward. While posts about my satisfying journey will continue to be part of this blog, clearly readers are not tired of my thoughts on the traditional topics of our finances, health, relationships, living decisions, and travel. That type of post will continue, and probably make up the majority of articles I write. I think you have given me permission to occasionally deal with weightier subjects, too. That is good. Somethings there are things going on in our world I just can't keep quiet about.

If you would, please leave a comment about a topic or area of concern that is of great importance to you. Your input will be quite helpful as I begin to plan for next year.  


In the meantime, I hope your holiday season was a good one. I pray that you will find joy, comfort, and well-being in this brand new year. As you read this Betty and I are in Palm Springs for the International Film Festival. I will have some comments on the films we saw when we return in a week or so. But, in the meantime, my reaction to your comments may be a bit delayed since I am in an RV 280 miles from home.



24 comments:

  1. I think maybe you are over analyzing things here Bob. :) I don't know how your statistics are generated but mine just show view and visitor counts. A view can be anything from someone reading the title and then hitting the delete button to someone who diligently read each word in the post. Most of the reasons for my view changes seem to be that the search engines were at my site more often because of a popular word in the post.

    But having said all that since your blog is in my daily Feedly list I do read every post you write but do sometimes skim instead of study (ha). I think to look as your critical success as a blogger you have to look at the average daily visitors. That will tell you more than daily counts. Who comes back again and again.

    Personally I enjoy that you go off topic and discuss things that cause an emotional rise in you. It helps us readers know more about you and that you don't spend all your day figuring out how to manage retirement. Of course my blog hits on hundreds of different topics and it seems a large portion,at least according the the statistics, of my readership comes from search engines finding a particular tag in the post. But when it comes down to it, I blog because I must. It is in my DNA to do it... Call it an obsession if you want or just that I am compassionate about too many topics.

    Keep the posts coming in 2016. I enjoy "most" of them my friend.

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  2. While the exact order of the top 10 isn't important, it seems logical to judge the appeal of broad topic types to guide me in the new year. I use a somewhat subjective criteria of daily views, overall views, and the amount and "passion" of the comments. Subjects that hit a chord (or nerve) of a reader generate a different type of comment.

    Thanks for your continued readership, RJ. We have both been in this gig for quite sometime now.

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  3. Idea: Encouraging everyone to really get involved in researching all facts of the presidential candidates and know the topics so we all are informed voters and less advertisement and emotional driven voters this election cycle.

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    1. That is a meaningful goal and perhaps a good focus for a blog post or two, especially as we get into the primary season. Thanks, Richard.

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  4. There's an article I'd like to read - how to evaluate a presidential candidates qualifications for the job, just like if we were hiring the person to work for us for the next four years. I'm going to look for the job description!

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    1. Interesting idea. That might be fun and enlightening.

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  5. Bob, I enjoy reading a broad assortment of topics, but some of my favorites focus on sharing current information (like Richard's suggestion of digging into presidential candidates), as well as tips for improving our lives (vacation ideas, upcoming changes affecting social security and Medicare, coping skills, etc.). I guess I should have said, just keep on doing what you've been doing, because I like all of it!

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    1. Coping skills are so important, regardless of the topic. That gives me a lot to consider.

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  6. I am still quite interested in retirement topics, including how to retire on a budget, benefits that might be available to retirees, veterans concerns and how to enjoy life for less during retirement, as well as ways to make money as a retiree without being committed to a job.

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    1. Making money without having a job....I don't think I have ever written about that. Thanks Sunshine.

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  7. What I least want to read is opinions of the political parties and various candidates for President, although I do like Bonnie's article suggestion about how to evaluate a candidate. I am trying to check reliable sources and stay reasonably informed on the candidates without getting too involved in the chatter of personal opinions. Important as they are and as much as we need change, I dislike election years. They bring out the worst in people.

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    1. I would not get into opinions or comments about various candidates. I have plenty of strong feelings but that is not what this blog is about so you can rest assured that won't happen here!

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  8. Hi Bob this is a nice way to end/start the year off. I would like to see a post on deciding the right time to retire. I'd originally wanted to semi retire at 62, but I'm having a hard time getting motivated to stay another four years. I'm trying to figure out ways to move my timeframe up to 60-1/2 (or down). Obviously the numbers must work, but what could I start doing now at 58 to make the move at 60+.

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    1. The "right" time to retire is a good topic for me to revisit because it is so universal.

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  9. Bob, One of the things I value most about your blog is the interesting discussion you generate in the comments section. That was especially true for me in the "Are We Really So Afraid" post. -Jean

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    1. One of the primary reasons I started blogging again....all the intelligent,thoughtful, and caring folks who take the time to comment and become involved with each other.

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  10. My favorite posts are the ones that reveal a little more about Bob Lowry the person -- what you're doing, feeling, thinking. Those are the posts that seem the most real to me, the most unique, and the ones that get me examining my own retirement journey.

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    1. Those are the toughest for me to write but often the most rewarding. Thanks for the encouragement, Tom.

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    2. I agree with Tom. Those are my favorites, too. Keep up the good work.

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  11. I liked the posts where you wobbled... Feeling bored, changing plans, exercise breaks. Not all the time, of course. There's a new type of senior bullying wherein we must always be doing, always up, never unsure. Trouble is, that's not how life works. I have a sigh of relief when someone writes about their doubts, a you too, moment.

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    1. "where you wobbled"....I like that expression.Doubts are part of the journey!

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    2. "where you wobbled"....I like that expression.Doubts are part of the journey!

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  12. I love your switch to Satisfying Journey. I too have been writing about retirement adjustments, but your switch creates a positive picture of what retirement can be when we decide to enjoy it.

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